Why Do Golden Retrievers Have A Bump On Their Head?

If you own a Golden Retriever, you may be wondering why they have a bump on their head and if it is something to be concerned about. Any bump on your dog can seem concerning so it is important to know about the bump on Golden Retriever’s heads and what the reasoning is behind it.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Have A Bump On Their Head 1 Why Do Golden Retrievers Have A Bump On Their Head?

Why Do Golden Retrievers Have A Bump On Their Head?

The bump on a Golden Retriever’s head is their occiput. This is a bony protrusion on their skull that is a result of evolution. All dogs have this, but it is more noticeable in certain breeds, such as the Golden Retriever. The occiput is not harmful and is completely normal. 

Having the knowledge about whether the bump on your Golden Retriever’s head is normal is important to alleviate any worry or concern you might have.

The information provided to you in this guide has been researched and reviewed by not only long-term Golden Retriever breeders but also veterinary professionals in order to give you the most accurate information. 

Golden Retriever Overview


The Golden Retriever is a Scottish breed of retriever. They were developed in the 19th century by Sir Dudley Majoribanks. Majoribanks had always been interested in dog breeding and his breeding journey began with a flat-coated retriever dog named Nous. Nous was the only gold colored dog in an all black litter. 

It was not common, but still possible for a gold colored dog to come from two black parents. Following Nous, Majoribanks began the breeding journey in order to have a group of retrievers that were all gold colored, which eventually led to the name Golden Retriever. 


The Golden Retriever is considered a medium sized breed. The males are typically 22 to 24 inches and the females are 20 to 22 inches. 

They have a level back with a tail that is carried straight out. Golden Retriever’s have a double coat with their outer coat being long and it can be flat or wavy. The undercoat is very dense and is there to protect them in extreme weather. 

Their coat color can be any shade of cream, yellow, or gold. Typically Golden Retrievers will get lighter as they age. The American Kennel Club breed standard prohibits red or mahogany-colored coats.   


Golden Retriever’s are known for having incredible temperaments. They are very gentle and affectionate and make wonderful family dogs and companions. Their intelligence makes them easily trainable, which is a big benefit for some people. 

The Golden Retriever makes a great dog for any activities and many of them go for walks, runs, and some are even trained for hunting. 

Due to the Golden Retriever being very calm and kind-natured, they are typically not guard dogs. Many people get a Golden Retriever as they are very tolerant of young children and do not show aggression. 


Due to Golden Retrievers being a larger dog breed, their lifespan is not usually as long as it is for a smaller dog or cat.

Most Golden Retrievers have a lifespan of 10-12 years. However, there have been records showing some Golden Retrievers that lived into their late teen years. 

Why Do Golden Retrievers Have A Bump On Their Head 1 2 Why Do Golden Retrievers Have A Bump On Their Head?

Why Do Golden Retrievers Have A Bump On Their Head?

If you notice a bump on your Golden Retriever’s head it can immediately lead to concern and alarm. However, all dogs have a bump on their head and it can be more noticeable in certain breeds such as the Golden Retriever. 

The bump on a Golden Retriever’s head is called an occiput and it is the result of evolution. It has been lovingly referred to as a knowledge bump or wisdom bump. This is due to it being thought to be related to a dog’s intelligence. 

Not only has it been believed to be linked to a dog’s intelligence, but it has been thought to be related to a dog’s sense of smell. 

Although there was speculation that it is linked to a dog’s intelligence and smell, it has been shown to be false. An occiput is solely a piece of bone that sticks out from a dog’s skull. 

The reason why dogs developed the occiput is due to the fact that predators would attempt to crush their skull to kill them. This piece of bone allowed for extra protection to their skull. The occiput made it harder for predators to bite down on the dogs skull and damage their brain.  

A dog’s occiput will grow as the dog grows and remain relative to the size of the dog. If your Golden Retriever puppy has a more prominent occiput then it will most likely remain prominent for their entire life. 

When Should You Be Concerned About A Bump On Your Dog?

Most of the time if you notice a lump or bump on your Golden Retriever, it is probably something benign or easily treated by a veterinarian. An important part of dog ownership is to regularly check your dog’s skin and be aware of any changes that you notice not only physically, but also changes in your dog’s demeanor. 

There are certain lumps and bumps that can be a cause for concern. It is recommended that anytime you notice something new on your dog that you seek advice from your veterinarian. 


Lipomas are a common lump that can be found on your Golden Retriever. They are essentially fat deposits under your dog’s skin that are benign. 

They are called tumors by veterinarians, but they are usually not harmful and will not spread. However, if they grow at a fast rate your veterinarian may recommend surgically removing them for the comfort of your dog. Most commonly they are found in older and overweight dogs. 


Cysts are a benign lump that you might find on your Golden Retriever. Cysts can occur if the glands in your dog’s skin become clogged and irritated. Cysts are benign and typically will go away on their own unless they become extremely infected. 


An abscess is not cancerous, but can lead to a bad infection. If your dog has something foreign enter their skin, this can lead to an abcess. You will probably quickly notice if your dog has an abscess as they are typically quite painful and tender. 

In most circumstances, your vet will need to prescribe antibiotics and potentially drain the abscess. 


Golden Retrievers just like humans can get warts. They are not cancerous and usually do not present a major problem for your dog. Sometimes they will go away on their own, but if they do not and become uncomfortable for your dog they can be easily removed by your veterinarian. 

Malignant Tumors

Occasionally lumps and bumps can be cancerous. It is important to have a veterinarian look at any new changes you notice on your dog. Golden Retriever’s can get malignant tumors on their skin as well as internally so it is important to let your veterinarian know if you notice any behavioral changes as well with your dog. 

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